Book: Fabricating Difference
Chapter: 6. Clashing Allegiances: The Practicality of Constructing National Identity
Constructing difference serves a practical role in the construction of identities. This essay explores the ways in which Islam, not only as a practice but also as an identity for Muslims, is constructed and subsequently regarded as antagonistic to a conception of an “American way of life.” In exploring how Islam is established as different and marginal in a normatively Christian America, this essay argues that these fabrications of difference are one of the ways in which the United States is attempting to construct its own national identity—one that includes certain practices while excluding others. With this approach, this essay regards “difference” not as a descriptive act but rather as a construction that is rooted in certain socio-political agendas and employed as a way to establish and maintain normative ideas of national identity in the United States.